12 Children’s Books to Celebrate National Poetry Month
It’s April! That means it’s not just springtime—it’s the month we celebrate all things rhythm, verse, and rhyme. It’s National Poetry Month! From clever poetry favorites and nursery rhymes to craftily created illustrations and novels in verse, we have poetry for all ages to inspire even the most reluctant future-poets. We’ve selected some of our favorite poetry books for you to share with your readers.
Poetry for All Ages
Little Poems for Tiny Ears by Lin Oliver
This delightful collection of original poems celebrates the everyday things that enthrall little ones, such as playing peekaboo, banging pots and pans, splashing at bath time, and cuddling at bedtime.
Digger, Dozer, Dumper by Hope Vestergaard
Rhymes and colorful illustrations invite young readers to meet their favorite trucks and vehicles face-to-face. Each truck and big machine in these enticing poems is different — and little readers are invited to find a vehicle that’s like them.
In The Sea by David Elliot
The briny deep is home to an enormous variety of fascinating creatures, from the dainty sea horse to the fearsome shark, from the spiny sea urchin to the majestic blue whale. In striking woodcut illustrations, diverse creatures glide through blue and green waters, while succinct, witty poetry examines their behavior and interactions.
The Roots of Rap: 16 Bars on the 4 Pillars of Hip-Hop by Frank Morrison
Kids will learn about how it evolved from folktales, spirituals, and poetry, to the showmanship of James Brown, to the culture of graffiti art and break dancing that formed around the art form and gave birth to the musical artists we know today. Written in lyrical rhythm, this book beautifully illustrates how hip-hop is a language spoken the whole world ’round.
A Round of Robins by Katie Hesterman
Sixteen fresh and funny poems welcome a new batch of robins to the world! This verse celebrates this awesome circle of bird life, as we follow a pair of robin parents from nest-building and egg-laying, to raising their hungry hatchlings, and finally sending off their flying fledglings.
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Where the sidewalk ends, Shel Silverstein’s world begins. There you’ll meet a boy who turns into a TV set and a girl who eats a whale. The Unicorn and the Bloath live there, and so does Sarah Cynthia Sylvia Stout who will not take the garbage out. It is a place where you wash your shadow and plant diamond gardens, a place where shoes fly, sisters are auctioned off, and crocodiles go to the dentist.
Emma’s Poem: The Voice of the Statue of Liberty by Linda Glaser
In 1883, Emma Lazarus, deeply moved by an influx of immigrants from eastern Europe, wrote a sonnet that gave a voice to the Statue of Liberty. The statue, thanks to Emma’s poem, came to define us as a nation that welcomes immigrants. The text of that now-famous poem, “The New Colossus,” appears in this free-verse biography, illustrated in an exquisite folk art style. It also comes with a free reading guide for First Book members!
My Chinatown: One Year in Poems by Kam Mak
My Chinatown is a critically acclaimed, spectacularly illustrated homage to family, culture, and a childhood spent in one of the most striking places in any city—Chinatown. Kam Mak grew up in a place of two cultures, one existing within the other. Using extraordinarily beautiful paintings and moving poems, he shares a year of growing up in this small city within a city.
Little Cat’s Luck by Marion Dane Bauer
A little cat named Patches manages to push out a window screen and leave her house, chasing a falling leaf, and sets out to find a special place to call her own. This heartwarming novel is a timeless, touching, and fulfilling story about finding your way home.
Enchanted Air: Two Cultures, Two Wings: A Memoir by Margarita Engle
In this poetic memoir, Margarita Engle, the first Latina woman to receive a Newbery Honor, tells of growing up as a child of two cultures during the Cold War. How can the two countries she loves hate each other so much? And will she ever get to visit her beautiful island again?
Black Girl Magic: A Poem by Mahogany L. Browne
This illustrated poem is an anthem of strength and magic undeniable in its bloom for all beautiful Black girls. It’s a journey from girlhood to womanhood and an invitation to readers to find magic in themselves.
Swing by Kwame Alexander
After discovering a trove of old love letters and an appreciation of jazz music, Noah is inspired to send a few love notes of his own. But just as his plans appear to be working, the letters set off a chain of events that upends everything Noah thought he knew about love, friendship, sacrifice, and fate. This book will encourage anyone who’s struggled to find their voice to embrace risks and take a swing at life.
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